Active Play for Families
A fundamental part of raising a happy and healthy family is to provide active opportunities for children and youth. The benefits of activity are endless and encouraging everyday fitness and activity for your children will set the foundation for an active life through adulthood and this is an invaluable gift to share with your children.
The physical activity guidelines of the Public Health Agency of Canada state that children and youth should accumulate at least 90 minutes of physical activity per day including both moderate* and vigorous** activity. In order to achieve this, TV and video games need to have a rest and families are recommended to be creative and spend more time actively playing together.
Sharing quality family time together is just one benefit of engaging in active play together. In addition, family members will develop shared interests, can work as a team to reach common goals and serve as motivation to one another. Keeping children active also:
· Builds strong bones and strengthens muscles
· Maintains flexibility
· Maintains and achieves a healthy weight
· Promotes good posture and balance
· Improves fitness
· Strengthens the heart
· Improves physical self-esteem
· Increases relaxation
· Enhances healthy growth and development
· Helps them meet new friends
(Public Health Agency of Canada)
Incorporating activity into daily living successfully involves including the family in the decision and planning making process; kids love to have a say. Looking for activities or events in the paper or leisure guides is a great way to plan together. Activities must be fun and engaging and remember exercise tends to be boring, while play is fun, so choose your words carefully!
Some ideas for you and your family can include a daily after dinner walk, shooting hoops together at the local park, walking to school together, participating in a community event or race, biking the SeaWalk, going to the pool weekly, playing at the playground and more. Some creative additions can include turning a walk into a scavenger hunt, saving emissions by walking or biking to school or for errands, meet other families for games at the park or park further away from your destination.
Lead your family in the right direction by being active together. Your family will be stronger and benefit for many years to come by playing together now.
* Moderate activities include: brisk walking, skating, biking, swimming and playing outdoors
** Vigorous activities include: running, soccer and hockey
by Kris Calver